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Date: October 5, 2013
Region: 2013 Bass Champs Championship
Tournament: 2013 Championship
Tournament Trail: 2013 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Elshout & Price win Bass Champs 2013 Championship on the Red River
By: Patty Lenderman

The Skeeter Bass Champs 2013 tournament season has come full circle, with its season finale championship on the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana. 204 teams from four regions converged on this iconic scene to determine who would be crowned Champion.

The scene was set at the Red River South Marina for this two day event, valued at well over $150,000. Anglers from all over Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Arkansas representing four regions of the Bass Champs premier tournament trail put their skills to the test on this neutral water body, making for an exciting finale. Each team was allowed three fish per day for their creel.

North Region anglers Chad Bailey and Lee Livesay took lead position on day 1 bringing a three fish limit to the scales which included their 6.06 lb kicker that held up for both days as the Big Bass of the tournament. The camera boats were with them each day as they were the Anglers of the Year for their region and made a good start in the championship. Martin Elshout and Mark Price were hot on their heels, finishing day one in 2nd place.

Teams had many decisions to make on day two. Would they to stick to their initial game plans or gun for other areas? Should they go through the locks to various pools and cut their fishing times? The fruit of their decisions showed in the final weigh in as the leaderboard had many changes to it.

Martin Elshout and Mark Price of the East Region stayed in pool 5 both days, and started out in the lily pads on day one. “We caught a five pounder and a few more keepers in our first spot,” Martin explained. They had a limit within an hour, and stayed a few more hours. “We had caught some in practice on some log jams with a jig and a sweet beaver in practice.” Going back to those spots, they were able to cull a few and at that point had nine pounds in their livewell. “The Good Lord was watching after us. Martin got a bite on an Ol’ Monster worm in the stumps, and it got hung up, wrapped around a stump. He managed to get it coming to the boat, and it got close enough we could see it.” It was a 3 ½ lb fish. “It came off one foot from the net, but Mark was able to scoop it up!” They hit one more spot for a final cull, which put them in a strong 2nd place position at the end of day one. “The second day we went back to the pads, but didn’t catch anything.” Now scrambling, they went back to the log jams for three hours and caught a limit of two pounders. “Later in the day we went back to the lily pads using a frog, and just couldn’t get them to bite. Mark switched to speed craws and caught a 2-3/4# which gave us a few more pounds.” Their two day weight was 18.93 lbs, winning the tournament by a mere four ounces! Interestingly, Martin caught all of the fish weighed on the first day, but Mark caught all of them on the final day. “What a great tournament! Red River South Marine was a great place to have this championship.” Bass Champs presented them with a Skeeter FX20 powered by a Yamaha 250 SHO, equipped with MinnKota and Humminbird for their 1st place win. Sure Life added another $200 to their bounty for using the product in their livewell. “We would like to thank Bass Champs for always putting on top notch tournaments!” They would also like to thank Ranger, Mercury, Kistler, Ludwig Brothers Marine, “and our wives for letting us go fishing – again!”

Brian Schott and Lee Yowell of the North Region brought in limits each day for a 2nd place finish. Their day two sack included a 5.41 lb kicker that weighed in as Big Bass for day two, garnering a $600 check for that single catch. Winning 2nd place with 18.70 lbs earned them a check for $9,000 and because they were the highest finisher in a qualified Skeeter boat, Skeeter added another $5,000 to their winnings.

Lone angler Mike Kernan won 3rd place with 17.44 lbs. Locking down to pool 4, he fished the lily pads with frogs in 2’ of water. Knowing he was going to fish the shallows, he elected to use his aluminum boat instead of his normal bass rig. “Day one went well for me. I managed ten keepers. On my way back to the lock to get to the weigh in, I had to stop and give the fish some fresh water.” There, he was able to make a cull on the wing of the dam. “Then my motor wouldn’t start.” Keeping his head, he solved his dilemma and got the motor running with only three minutes to spare to get into the lock. His day one weight put him in 9th place with 9.16 lbs. “Day two I went back to the same area. Because of the lock schedule, I knew it was risky because that would only give me 3 hours and 15 minutes to fish.” In that time he put another limit together, adding another 8.28 lbs to his final weight. It was enough to pull him up from 9th on day one to a 2nd place overall finish! “You’ve got to have fish located to pull that off!” He was awarded $7,000 for his 3rd place finish. “Fishing the Red River for the championship was great. I love getting off ‘routine’, and fish something new. They really did a great job hosting the event.” He would like to thank Fun N Sun and Strike King for their support.

The 6.06 lb bass weighed in by Lee Livesay and Chad Bailey on day one held up for Big Bass overall. “We were fishing in the lily pads with frogs. There was one nice one that blew up on each of our baits twice, but we missed it.” The cameras were catching all of the action as this team made Anglers of the Year for the North Region. “We stayed in about a two mile area, and later went back to the spot where we missed that nice one.” It was around 1:00 when Lee got the bite they were after. “We think it was that same fish!” Bass Champs awarded them $600 for that catch. Day two was a little tougher for them. “We thought about going down to pool 3, but it would have cut off a lot of fishing time for us. We just went back and hit the same area as we did the first day.” Although they led day one, they finished in 7th place overall with a 16.45 lb total. They cashed in on $2,500 for that finish then were awarded several sponsor bonuses. Costa Del Mar awarded them $200 as did UnderArmour, and they also won the Abu Garcia Revo bonus. “We really enjoyed having Henry from the Rowdy Crew with us. He was great. We would also like to thank Bass Champs for putting on great tournaments, and thank our family and friends for their encouragement and support.”

All total 40 places were paid. Gary and Jacob Kinard won the last check for $1,200 weighing in 12.37 lbs.

“It has been an awesome season,” stated Bass Champs President Chad Potts. “This year we have had the honor of paying out several million dollars in cash and prizes to our anglers. We have some of the best sponsors in the industry that help make that happen, and none of it would without each and every person who fishes our events. We’d like to thank everyone for being a part of making it happen, and congratulate everyone on their successes this year.”

The 2014 schedule is available at www.BassChamps.com, so mark the dates and plan on winning in 2014! “Next year we will be awarding a Ford pick-up truck at every single event with an MSRP over $25,000 to the winners. We are excited to welcome Ford aboard with Bass Champs as we continually strive to improve each and every year for our participating teams.”
It’s not over yet! Don’t miss the 8th annual Berkley Big Bass tournament on Lake Fork October 19-20. Ten places will be paid each hour plus Exact Weight bonuses, giveaways and more! Two lucky anglers will drive away with brand new Skeeter boats – one for the biggest fish over the slot, one for the biggest fish under the slot. Bring an empty package from any Berkley bait to enter the Berkley Empty Bag Giveaway! For additional information and rules, go to www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274
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